Increasing the Māori workforce in health was the focus of a day-long event for about 40 students from seven Tauranga schools this month.
The Te Whe pilot programme for Year 10 rangatahi (young people) was held at St John Ambulance Tauranga headquarters on 17th Ave last week.
The students enjoyed an ambulance tour and rescue helicopter visit as well as interactive exercises on IV (intravenous) injections, wound management care, use of a resuscitation kit, and an introduction to CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation).
Te Wharekura o Mauao student Nathaniel Tane, 14, said he enjoyed all of it but liked doing the IV injections into the dummy leg the most.
"It has made me interested in health and to help people by wanting to become a doctor. I want to study health to be a doctor."
Bay of Plenty District Health Board Kia Ora Hauora co-ordinator Mau Tane said it was a wonderful opportunity for Māori rangatahi to be exposed to health-related activities.
"The objective is to highlight health career opportunities to rangatahi and provide them with an opportunity to meet health professionals from all different specialities, see what sparks their interest and to encourage them to think about their subject selections in high school," he said.
Tane said the event ran smoothly from the whakatau (welcoming) at the start to the karakia (prayer) at the end and the programme was well received by all involved.
"It was a great success with teachers, rangatahi and St John staff all enthusiastic about this pilot programme, and we are hoping to make it an annual collaborative event," she said.
The event was run collaboratively by the BOPDHB Kia Ora Hauora, St John and Whakapiki Āke (Auckland University Faculty of Medicine).
The schools involved included Te Wharekura O Mauao, Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Te Kura Kōkiri, Tauranga Boys' College, Tauranga Girls' College, Otumoetai College, Aquinas and Te Puke High School.